The Impact of the Scandinavian Culture on a Company’s Success

Sweden is home to many successful companies, but makes them successful? What amount of influence does the home country have on the overall success of an organization? We explore this topic while comparing some of the organizations we have visited along our trip.

First, was media company Dagens Samhälle (“Society Today”). We met with Cheif Editor Olov Carlsson who gave us our first introduction and overview of Swedish culture and the role media plays. The importance of Swedish media’s role in society was evident and it differed from the US in the fact that it’s their duty to report unbiased facts and any person who is the subject of an article is allowed to make a claim that their view was not considered and therefore, the whole picture was not reported. This type of check and balance helps to ensure a mutual trust between the media, article subjects, and readers. This makes the job of the media much harder as they are held to a higher standard than those in the US. Of course we hope our reporters are posting all of the facts and offering information without the lens of a biased opinion but there is no way to stop them from posting anything short of defamation. For this reason, it’s evident that Sweden has had a great deal of influence on not only this company, but the media industry.

Next, we visited NorthVolt’s office. Where CEO Peter Carlsson taught us about the company as a whole as well as their company timeline. The timeline included information about how it started and where it’s going, as well as how they chose a site for their battery factory. They selected Skellefteå, an area in northern Sweden that has extremely cold temperatures throughout most of the year which will help reduce costs of cooling the facility (as batteries need to be kept in a particularly cool environment. Additionally, they chose this site because it has easy access to a lot of water that they can use to run the factory. The factory will require a lot of energy so having a renewable resource to run the factory, at least in part, will help save on costs as well as reduce the impact on the environment. A location like this is going to truly influence the success of the company and set the stage for other companies getting into this industry.

To end our day, we visited H&M’s headquarters where Anton Wallmark gave us an overview of the values and business model of the company. One major strength of the company is their ability to predict and adapt to changes in fashion. Europe, and Sweden in particular, are known for being one of the first places that trends hit so the company has an advantage when putting together products. Of course they have to adapt styles for their different stores but with a majority of them being scattered throughout Sweden and Europe, this gives them a leg up on the competition. This makes it clear that the location of their headquarters has played a role in the success of the company.